Friday, December 23, 2011

Happy Holidays!!

 I want to wish everyone the very Best for the Holiday Seasons!  I'll be off a few days and will probably finish the #100 Salt Lake City Porches Project.  Then, I need to start framing and prepping some of the paintings to be shown in an art show on Jan. 14th.  You can view #99 and get the details by clicking here.  The above picture is one of the many additional artworks that can be seen at the show.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Who Me?!?!

I haven't been watching the scale for the last couple of weeks.  I just feel it's a bit of losing fruitless battle until the Holidays are over.  So I've taken on the attitude of - Who Me?  I'm not worried about the weight right now.  I'll enjoy the chocolate, rum & eggnog, and what other sweets may come my way this Holiday Season.  I'll just work my butt off come next year!  I've still been getting in about 7 miles on the treadmill, 45 minutes on the elliptical, and a couple of reformer pilates classes in during a week.  So at least I'm staying active while enjoying the goodies of the season.

The combo picture above is a series of photos taken at a recent Christmas Party.  It's myself with my new darker hair and Diane.  We were doing silly faces and having some real fun!  The camera person refers to the photo as "The Party Girls"!  Go Figure!  Who Me??!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Calling in SORE & Drinking Coffee thru a Straw…

I can just imagine the conversation…

“Hey boss! Yeah, I’m not calling in sick but calling in SORE today.”
“Sore?” He’ll ask.
“Yes, you see I have this friend Diane that LOVES to find punishing workouts and I’m an easy gullible sidekick to these torturous episodes. This morning I went to this workout group class and I tell you my arms hurt, my ribs hurt, my glutes hurt, my thighs hurt, and my calves hurt. In fact, it’s only from the neck up that I’m NOT hurting. So thus, I’m calling in sore. But if the calling in sore doesn’t work, I could always claim a mental health day. After all, I must be insane to put myself through this!”

Yes, as if that’s ever going to happen! NOT! So here I am trying to sit as still as possible at my desk and still do my work. OMG! It’s almost to the point where it hurts to breathe! I’m drinking coffee through a straw because it HURTS to pick up a coffee cup. Yes, I did survive the barrEVO + class but just barely!

I barely survived the class and I couldn’t do almost 60% of the stuff in the class. I guess I should have checked more closely when signing up for the class. I just thought that it was a regular Barr Evolution class. Nope it was a barrEVO + and I guess that the plus stands for an extra dose of the TRX. TRX is a suspension training that was designed by the US Navy SEALS. Oh boy! Was I ever over my head on this one!

We started out warming up by doing some of the TRX. It was a version of hanging on a swing and leaning backwards. Then we did row boat motions with our arms where the resistance came from our own weight. I was all ready having balance issues and we were barely out of the gate here. Yep, I was in over my head!

Next we turned around and while doing lunges our arms were doing different out and upward motions. Thank goodness no one handed me a stick of gum! This was pushing my levels of coordination. We dropped the TRX ropes and picked up our little hand weights for the next bit. Standing tall, we held the hand weights at arm height and did different motions of out and up but never letting our hands with weights drop below the shoulder level. It was 6 minutes total of doing this. My arms were all ready burning about 2 minutes into this. My face is grimacing and Laura is laughing. “Diane look at her face!” Diane answers that she won’t look because then she’ll break out laughing and lose her concentration. Popeye eat your heart out!

Shortly after the teacher (Laura) told us we had another 1.5 minutes left, I looked over at Diane and said,” I’m going to be hating you tomorrow.” That got quite a few chuckles going in the class, and Laura laughingly asked,” You’re blaming her?” “She’s the one that talked me into doing this!” I answered.

We did a series of exercises with the ball between our legs squeezing while doing heel raises and squat sitting. Our right hand was used for balance on the ballet bar on the wall. My calf got a cramp about ¾ of the way through this. OUCH! Then we turned towards the bar and put the 9” ball behind one knee bent up and back to hold the ball in place. We then proceeded to do various exercises that were a new version (to me) of “Saddle Bags Be Gone”. Legs up and back and then to the side while the other leg you are standing on and the opposite “saddle bag” is feeling it all!
Photo- Similar to part of the "Super Push Up"

From there we went into more of the TRX training. We lied on our backs with feet in the ropes doing bridges and raising various parts of our body. Then we rolled over and went into plank. OMG! This is where I was a COMPLETE failure! As most of you have probably heard before I have enough of a time trying to do the plank on solid ground let alone trying to do it when my feet are in straps a foot above the floor. OMG! While I’m just struggling to do the plank on my elbows, the others are doing the teacher’s more advanced moves. They are pushing legs out and pulling them together and then pulling bended legs up towards the abs. Then they are doing push ups and what Laura called Super Push ups. OMG! Laura made it look SO easy meanwhile I’m struggling to stay on my elbows in a plank.

AND that’s how I ended up sipping coffee through a straw…

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

What Gives?!?!!!!

I can’t quite figure this out. Last night I ran 3.25 miles on the treadmill and did another 22 minutes on the elliptical. The night before I ran 4 miles on the treadmill and did 20 minutes on the elliptical. So this morning when I get on the scale, I’m expecting to be down 1 or 2 lbs. NOPE! I’m back up the 2 lbs. that I thought I had lost towards the end of last week. What gives?!? This doesn’t make any sense what so ever!

It’s like the Twilight Zone and I can’t seem to work off, beg, borrow, or give these 2lbs up! They just come back to haunt me. It’s a bit frustrating to say the least. I’ve been relatively good at watching what I eat for the last few days. I will admit I had a Christmas party that I went to last Friday night where I consumed enough “spirits” that I was a bit thirsty the next morning. I also woke up to a cramp in my right calf. I must have done something when I was dancing my little heart out during the end of the night.

In fact, my calf was still hurting on Sunday morning when I woke up. So I didn’t do any working out this last Saturday or Sunday. In fact, Saturday I was SO into working on my porch paintings that I forgot to eat until that night when I went to watch some friends play guitars at a local tea house. Being the BIG veggie fan that I am (I’m sure you are picking up on my note of sarcasm here.); I ordered a veggie/humus platter which I struggled to get ¾ of it down. That was my meal of the day.

Come Monday my right calf felt better and off I went to the gym. I figured I needed to make up for the no exercise weekend. I pushed myself to run 4 miles and then topped it off with sometime on the elliptical. Tuesday night I went into the gym just planning on doing a quick mile of running with an additional 15 minutes on the elliptical. Well, 1 mile became 1 and a half. Then, I was at 2 miles and it felt so good that BOOM! Before I know it I’m at 3.10 miles. I finished out with a bit of walking for 3.25 miles. Then I went on to the elliptical machine. Before I knew it the planned 15 minutes had turned into 22 minutes. I got so wrapped up in some new tunes I had downloaded on my MP3 player that I was just ZOOMING right along with the beat and lost track of time; funny how music can do that.

But here comes Wednesday morning standing on the scale and after all of that I find I’m up 2 lbs! Ugh! What gives?!? Hmmmm… back to the drawing board I guess. Tomorrow morning I’m adventuring into new territory. Yes, I let Diane talk me into to trying the barrEVO class at the same place where we take the Pilates Reformer class. This barrEVO class is described as a cross between ballet, yoga, and pilates. This should be interesting and I’ll let you know how it goes. That’s reliant on if I’m not stuck in a yoga’d pretzel position on some ballet bar.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Jump Board Alphabets & a Weigh In...

This morning was another Jump Board Reformer Pilates class. After the warm up, Laura our teacher has us do what I like to call Jump Board Alphabet.  We jump forms of letters onto the upright board by raising, lowering, or planting our feet together on the upright jumping plateform.  Mostly it's simple straight letters like A, V, W, M, T.  I teasingly told the teacher I refer to it as Jump Board Alphabet.  She teased me back that she may have us spelling words but I told her that might be a bit too complicated for 6AM.  But I always imagine
our teacher in a cheer leader outfit waving pompoms and yelling," Give me a "V"!"; as I'm jumping a "V".  It brings a smile to my face to imagine this.  I guess its better than grimacing while trying to do quite a bit of the rest of the Jump Board Class.  From the Jumpboard Alphabets we move on to other more complex moves in the class.

I will admit that I'm improving with each class but there are always new challegnes that are thrown into the mix.  This morning's BIG challenge was keeping a ball between my shoulder blades with hands behind head -elbows bent and trying to do a horizontal jumping cycling motioned sideways situps.  Yes, it was as hard as it is to say!  Coordination is a challenge to me and this reminded me of trying to chew gum and walk at the same time without biting my tongue.  I chose to jump very slowly and carefully because it was just challenging for me to keep the ball between my shoulders. 

AND of course, there was the "Saddle-Bags-Be-Gone" portion of the class.  I was about over after doing the single leg lifts on the one side.  Then, the teacher told us to turn to the other side.  I felt like the one leg was over done and I was struggling slowly to turn over.   Laura took one look at my face, laughed, and said," Sorry you're not getting out of this one by turning over slowly.  You still need to do the other side."  OMG!  Pain!!  And those DARN saddle bags are still there even if I can't see them anymore.  I KNOW because I CAN feel them!

After freezing my butt off on the way home in my car (No I haven't fixed the car heater yet), I weighed myself.  I'm down two of those 3 lbs that I had gained over the last couple of weeks.  Good News!!  I've tried to be extra careful the last couple of days and it worked.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

How Did I Get Here? & Month End Stats

Ever get one of those quiet reflective moments that you are sitting there and wondering WTF happened to bring you to this point? That was me this morning at 5:45AM waiting for the Pilates Reformer Class. I will admit that I wasn’t feeling like my usual self and thus, I guess I wasn’t on auto-pilot.  I found myself in a reflective mood.
Photo- Diane Ross eat your heart out.  It's Ollie in drag!

I’m quietly sitting waiting in my frigid car in front of the pilates studio and attempting to think warm thoughts. The car heater hasn’t really been working since this latest cold snap and I’ve been meaning to check out to see if it’s just the anti-freeze that needs topping off. (I hope that’s all.) But I’ve been too busy to get it checked out and I’m not mechanically inclined at all. So, here I am freezing my butt off.

Just as my teeth are about to chatter, a car pulls up in the next parking stall. It’s another gal that’s in the pilates class with me. She’s sitting in her less than one year old shiny silver gray with black four door sedan Cooper with tunes and probably a heater that works. Meanwhile, I can't help but think about all of the steps that have led me to be sitting here in a freezing 11 year old scratched and dented (small dents & scratches from leaning my bike on it) silver station wagon that looks like I live out of it. Not that I’m jealous of the situation. I could be sitting there in a newer heated car if I chose to be. But it’s kind of strange that I’m relatively happy sitting here freezing in the old car that has me perplexed. What happened along the way that made me okay with that? Hmmm… Did I have a few screws that came loose along the way?!?

The more I thought; the more I found myself comparing...  I bet she lives in a cute little house with a spoiled cat or a springy young dog that loves to run. Meanwhile, I live in a one bedroom apartment that doesn't allow pets where most days my living room serves as a painting studio which leaves me inclined not to invite guests in. She probably has a productive job that she enjoys and she’s good at it too. Meanwhile, I’m passing the time as a lowly secretary/receptionist that answers phones and sometimes back talks to my boss. I really should be fired but for some reason I’m not. I will admit that my work is not fulfilling but I’ve reached a point where that’s not what I’m looking for. I opted out years ago to settle for an 8-5 type of steady job and I’m okay with that.  Not all of what I AM or who I AM is my job like some people.  I would have to say that I’m everything BUT my job to a certain extent. But overall, I’m happy with my life. Not that I couldn’t use some changes but overall I’m happy.

The pilates studio opens its doors. We both get out of our cars to head in and I can’t help but compare myself.   Now, is this mentally unhealthy of me to do this? I don’t think so. I see it as a litmus test. And so the comparison continues… She’s a tall blonde slender and looks like she’s ready for to model for a layout in a yoga magazine. Her hair is in smooth ponytail with matching headband. She’s wearing a matching black jacket with long yoga pants and black sleek tennis shoes.

Here I am looking like I’m homeless and look like I HAVE been living in my car. I’m in an oversized fleece jacket with a mismatched hoodie and almost threadbare yoga capris. I’m wearing knee high shearling winter boots, fingerless colorfully striped knitted gloves from some third world country and have topped off the whole affair with a black & gray skull cap to cover my bed head hair that is in BAD need of a color dye. So, in another words I look like I was literally dragged out of bed from my car.

We walk in and she (Ms. Yoga Model) is all sunny “Good Morning!” Meanwhile, I mumble “good morn” as I’m consciously trying to tug my hat off so my hair isn’t sticking straight up. You see, I really had a time trying to drag myself out of bed this morning for some reason. Which is really not LIKE me at all but my lack of being “put together” this morning seems very obvious when I’m staggering in with Ms Yoga Model next to me.

It’s later after the pilates class as I’m heading home in my still frigid car that I think that there MUST be a few screws loose as I’m happily puttering home to shower and change for work.  But I will admit that I wasn't happy with the scale when I got home.  It had been almost two weeks since I've stepped on it and I found myself up by 3 lbs.  Ouch!  Yep, there's some things that I want to change.

November's Monthly Stats--
27.5 miles running
60 miles cycling
3hours 11 minutes on the elliptical
Read 2 THICK books this month (bringing to a total of 55 books for year)
and ...
I'm up to #95 on the 100 Salt Lake City Porches Painting Project.  To view the progress of the project you can click here.  Here's the latest...
"100 Salt Lake City Porches, No.95"; Oil on 12" x 12" Canvas

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

I wanted to wish everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving!  May your cup run nth over and may you be able to work off those extra calories you intake.  I'm off to enjoy a 5 day off in a row.  Yep, I decided to splurge and take an extra vacation day so I can be off for 5 days instead of the 4 days.  I'm planning on doing some painting, running, and maybe even a bike ride.  Have a wonderful day!

Monday, November 21, 2011

A Snowshoe SWITCH-A-ROO, A REAL Snowshoe, & A Pilates Bit…

I was enthused and all set Saturday morning to go on my first snowshoe of the season. Saturday morning dawned white from snow falling most of the night, and it was still lightly snowing as I headed over to Diane’s house to meet. She had her van warming up as I transferred my snowshoe gear to her vehicle. I went in to play with Ollie for a bit and chat about where we were going to snowshoe.

Diane said there was this place up Emigration where her boss goes and she thought it might be fun to check it out. It sounded good to me. I asked if it was near the top of the canyon, and she said it was somewhere in the middle section behind a grouping of houses. She wrote down the directions her boss told her. Well, and Kym flaked and wouldn’t be able to join us.

It was as we were going up Emigration that Diane handed me the directions and said,” Here’s the directions read them out loud for me.” So I start reading…

“Emigration Canyon,
Up 3 miles or so look for Fire Station,
Take a left,
Drive up – house on right with red awning,
Take right...”

There are more directions but I stop there, and I say, “Gee, that sounds like its up by my friend Henry’s house.” I’m trying to place the area it in my mind. The “Human GPS” at work. I put the sheet of directions down and I’m waiting to get closer to the Fire Station. My brain thinks of the area we are driving to.

Diane tells me to the read the rest of the directions as she pulls off to the side into Ruth’s Diner parking lot. I think this is strange for her. “Please read the rest of the directions,” she says again. So I humor her…

“Drive past BIG dog house on left,
Turn left,
Old beater truck – take right,
Keep driving until road dead ends,
Walk up trail about ¼ mile,
Then take left up to crest.
AND this is all just a big joke to take you to breakfast to celebrate your birthday….”

“Oh MAN!” I laugh as Diane reaches in the back seat for a leopard printed feathered gift bag.
“Happy Birthday Girl!” Diane hands me the gift bag, “I’ve been planning this for a week. You are hard to pull a surprise on and I thought you were never going to finish reading those directions."  Shortly afterwards Kym showed up to join us and we had a nice breakfast and I got to open some presents. It was fun and a first that anyone’s pulled a successful birthday surprise on me.

On the way back to Diane’s we made arrangements for a REAL snowshoe the next morning. I arrive the next morning and as I get out of my car I yell jokingly,” Are we going for a REAL snowshoe this time?” Diane laughs and yep we really went on a snowshoe this time. Here are some photos from it…
I was surprised there was about 2ft of snow in the nearby mountains.
Snow was still coming down as we were snowshoeing around.
Myself in my glorified snowshoe gear.

Diane just being Diane!LOL!

This morning was my 10th pilates reformer class. It was the same teacher (Cathy) that I had two weeks ago where my abs hurt almost the entire week afterwards, and half way through the class she had asked me if it was my first pilates class. At that time, I had told her,” No but I have no core muscles.” I liked how she taught the class. She would go around the class and with her hands helped and talked me into how to do the proper position. She also is really good for helping me to push myself just a bit out of my comfort zone.

This morning, I was the first to arrive on a cold November morning. I told her that after her last class I took two weeks ago my abs hurt the rest of the week. We talked some more about how I was going to Jump Board and other early morning classes. She said that she hoped I would notice an improvement when I was in class today.

Lo & Behold! I surprised myself. I managed that head stand like position which I guess is called a “short spine”. It’s the same position I tried last Friday morning and had the machine come apart in my hand. I discovered I was doing it all wrong. I was bending my legs too early and I can be more stable if I keep my arms down straight against my side. There were still quite a few times in the class that I couldn’t really manage to do some of the positions in the class but I did notice that I’m managing more in each class; little by little.

I know I am progressing because my abs are not hurting as I’m sitting here writing this. I also have noticed that I’m getting more definition in my abs. Granted, I’m still WAY off from a six pack.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Wait THAT’S My Plate & Jump Board Friday…

So a couple of days ago a friend texts me this picture…

WOW! Hey, who took my lisc. plate? THAT should be mine. I sent her a text back and told her to Repo THAT plate!! Of course, I would probably just hang it on my wall at home. I won’t want to actually put it on my car. That’s a bit TOO much All Good for my liking.

This morning I went to another pilates reformer jump board class. Yes, there was another session of the “Saddle-Bags-Be-Gone”. But before that lovely part of the class we ended up doing some more new and interesting things. We did a new move. We put two springs on, put our feet in the straps, clutched on to the shoulder holds and then we were SUPPOSED to PULL ourselves into a position that’s basically a head stand on the machine. Oh, how I was struggling. I couldn’t seem to pull my A$$ off of the pilates machine. I decided I needed to clutch the shoulder rest a bit harder and really try to pull with my non-existent abs.

The next thing I know…the shoulder rest is pulled out and in my left hand. I laughed and stated,” I think I’m not doing this right.” Sweet mild talking Laura ran over and helped put the shoulder rest back on the machine. I finally did manage to get into the head stand like position but I had to kick up my legs to get myself into the position. But it was a bit embarrassing because I’m breaking machinery. Well, maybe not but I was beginning to wonder just how bad of a calamity I was.

From the handstand we continue on with straps still on our feet but this time we are squeezing a blue 9” round plastic ball between our ankles. I teased Laura about really challenging my coordination now. Laura told us to “Squeeze that ball as your legs go from straight to table top, and back.” Then, she had us change our feet so that our toes were pointing out. It was challenging keeping the ball in place. OMG! Then, we were told to change our feet position to point our toes in toward each other, and continue with the table top legs to straight legs again. It was a relief when the ball of the gal next to me sprung out and across the room. I HAD to laugh and say I was waiting for that to happen to me.

One the last feats before the “Saddle-Bags-Be-Gone” exercise was doing the dog position on the reformer machine facing the wall and putting one leg straight out behind and using that back leg to jump horizontally. OMG! It’s a tangent of the “Saddle-Bags-Be-Gone”! Only on this one, I had to figure how to stay up in the dog position as I was jumping. Meanwhile I’m trying not to notice that I’m now starting to pour sweat down my forehead on the machine. Drip, drip, drip! I think this was the first time I’ve really broke out in a sweat in this class. Though, I will say that it seemed as though the building was warmer when we came in this morning; or I should say that I’d like to blame it on something else that was causing me to ”glow” & “glisten” So much.

It was almost a relief when we were directed to lay on our side on the machine and started in on the single side legs jumps which I refer to as “Saddle-Bags-Be-Gone”. I will say that my body is adjusting to this exercise because this afternoon as I’m typing this I don’t feel the pain in my saddle bags like I did last week. That’s a good thing. Though, I KNOW I still have those saddle bags because I’m still going up and down with the same weight this week too! Darn it!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Plank Pathetic & A Pair of Characters…

Saturday night, I went over to assist a disabled friend who is the process of moving from an apartment into a condo. I’ve been trying to make myself available to her to help move some of the larger heavier items and also some of the articles that are higher up. We were sitting and taking a break at then end of the night.  As we are gabbing along the subject of my ability to do the plank position came up. She says she does it all the time as part of her therapy. I’m starting to feel about 4 inches tall because here’s a disabled person that’s able to do the plank and I can’t. How pathetic am I? Well, this morning she sends me a message and says, “Oh, by the way I was talking about a reverse plank position last night.” Whew~! That was a load off my mind because I was REALLY starting to wonder if I was just plain plank challenged! Well, I AM but…  Then I'm wondering... Wait a minute there's a reverse plank?  Maybe I'm focusing on doing the wrong plank!

Sunday afternoon, I’m out with the Popette doing our monthly Barnes & Noble visit. As we are getting settled with coffee in the café area of the store, the Popette talks with a guy nearby. He has three different thick tomes on the table in front of him; one of which is about 4 inches thick. She teases him about cramming for a professorship. He laughs and talks with her for a bit as I pick up our coffee order. The Popette and I start doing our catch up banter and I can see over the Popette's shoulder that Mr. Professorship is eavesdropping on our banter by the smirks and the quiet chuckles.

The Popette gets on the subject of a new poetry writing group that’s she’s been invited to join. It’s pretty prestigious for her to get into. She’s gone a couple of times to it. I ask her what she thought of the group. She comes back with,” They’re a bunch of A$$holes!” I can see Mr. Professorship’s jaw drop.  I chuckle because this is just classic Popette all the way.

I continue on,” So, let me get this straight you’ve gone two times. Did it take you two times to discover that they were A$$holes or is your learning curve getting slower?” I hear the chuckle erupt from Mr. Professorship. “No, no, no… I was just kind of quiet and unsure the first time I went….” I tease her about I could NEVER imagine her as being a quiet wall flower. Mr. Professorship is quietly laughing and shaking his head.

The Popette then goes on to tell of the dynamic of the group and to explain it was really just one overbearing person in the group that was TRULY the A$$hole. If it weren’t for this particularly “unsavory overbearing wench”, it could be an okay group. I can see that Mr. Professorship has forgotten about his tomes completely by this time.  I can see him shaking as he's silently chuckling.

Our lively banter continues on. I ask the Popette about her male companion; a dear sole who spends a great deal of time with her. I would describe him as a steady nice guy who literally worships the ground the Popette walks on but he’s a bit stale like dry toast around the edges. The Popette then goes on to tell how the two of them had a conversation this last week. Her companion was concerned about her dying before he did. The Popette found this very endearing that he didn’t want to live without her. Her companion responded that he was afraid that he was boring her to death.

This cracked me up! Meanwhile, I’m watching Mr. Professorship almost fall of his seat and he was laughing SO hard he looked ready to cry. Just watching Mr. Professorship over the Popette’s shoulder had me cracking up even harder. The Popette continued on with how she was SO surprised by her companion’s “one-liner” which WAS SO out of character that she ended up spitting out her coffee all over the place.

Later, the Popette took off to check out the Barnes & Noble store. A bit after that, Mr. Professorship got up to leave. I smiled at him and stated,” She’s quite the character, isn’t she?” He said,” You are both a pair of characters and you made my afternoon. Thanks!” Then, he left.

Friday, November 11, 2011

11/11/11 & Saddle-Bags-Be-Gone!

Happy 11-11-11th! Not sure if it’s considered a happy type of thing or not. I guess it’s all a matter of perspective. I never quite understood the superstition with numbers; especially #13. I always think its funny when I’m on the 14th floor of a building and I’m REALLY on the 13th. Course, there’s not that many tall buildings in Salt Lake, so I don’t get to humor myself in this way very often.

On the old phone system at my work, I was extension #13. I always found that interesting that the main receptionist’s phone extension was #13. Literally, all the phone calls went through extension #13. If that’s not asking for doom, I don’t know what would be.

I guess there are lines in Vegas at all the wedding chapels of people wanting to get married today. I also don’t understand this but I guess it would make it easier to remember the anniversary date. Something I always forgot to remember when I was married. Ooops! I guess that’s another reason I’m still not married. I’m also waiting for 13/13/13 to get married; when that happens I’m sure that all heaven and hell will be aligned and it’ll be a prime time to get married. Other words, NOT happening!

So, I’ve been going to these pilates reformer classes. This morning I attended my 7th class. Each class has been a new experience in finding new muscles that I haven’t used in a while. It’s been a rather humbling experience to say the least. I’ve also discovered how unaware I am of my own body; which is VERY humbling indeed!

Since early morning Monday’s pilates class I have still been feeling a mild pain. I should say that the pain has progressed from OMG! to a now mild. It mildly hurts when I cough, sneeze, or attempt to bend over. As my friend Diane texted me- “Sounds like a proctology exam!” Yes, it’s been an interesting week to say the least.

Thus, Friday morning arrives and it’s Pilates Jump board class! Okay, I survived it 2 weeks ago and legs are my strong point. I run and I bike. My legs are my strength. I was doing okay until we started doing the side jumps. Basically, you are lying on your side on the machine and folding one leg beneath as you use your leg closest to the ceiling to jump. Now here’s the tricky part—you are kicking your leg out between jumps. Either you are kicking it out front, or up and out, or out to the back. This is for 10 times each, and done in 3 rounds. I’ve NOW discovered what I call—“Saddle-Bags-Be-Gone!”

It’s the latest NEW & IMPROVED way to get rid of any remnant of a saddle bag that was trying to hug on to you glute muscle. Repeat this exercise twice a week, for three weeks and you won’t remember what a saddle bag was! This afternoon while I’m typing this in at my desk, I can literally feel my saddle bags shrinking and Lo-and-Behold I only have four more classes to go to lose those nasty saddle bags! OMG!

Oh, and did I happen to mention I've been bouncing around up 1 lb then back down for the last two weeks!  DAMN that Saddle Bag!  If I could just lose THAT!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Plank + Pilates = OMG! I DO Have Core Muscles!

Yesterday morning, I went to my fourth class of reformer Pilates. About half way through the class the cute spunky bright red-headed instructor had us (a class of 7) do the yoga position the “plank” on the reformer machine.

Oh boy! I think to myself I have a hard enough time doing the “plank” position on solid ground let alone try to do it on a machine that slides around. So here I am struggling to get into a “plank” position as part of the machine is moving around. I finally figure out where to put my toes; in the crevice between the shoulder rests. I place my elbows/forearms on the other side of the machine and slowly try to push my body into a “plank” position. My face is forming into a grimace as I’m struggling to get into position but somehow I manage it much to my surprise, or so I thought…

The instructor comes by, gently puts a hand on my stomach area, and states that I need to bring my abs up more to be in-line with the rest of the “plank”. So much for thinking I was in “plank” position! “WHAT?!? OMG!” I think to myself. I really don’t think my body will do that but I try a little harder. My face forms into an even tighter grimace.

Then, the instructor says to curl in those toes and abs towards your head. WTF! You GOT to be kidding! But I try to curl my toes up and my face forms into a grimace SO tight that I’m concerned about my eyes popping out of my head. Now I’m sure I’m starting to look like snarling bull dog. My bottom lip is almost to the tip of my nose. But instead of snarling, I’m emitting a small whimpering sound.

The instructor, then gently states to go back into plank position, I look up at her. I guess my grimace looked pretty darn funny because she breaks out laughing. It’s rather embarrassing to say the least! With that, I totally collapse into the machine. Meanwhile, everyone else in the class is still in “plank” position.

It’s as my friend Diane and I are leaving the class that I state that I must have NO core muscles at all. Diane laughs and states,” That’s why you are here! But I’m sure you have some core muscles.” It’s later in the day when I’m sitting at my desk at work that my core “abs” are SO sore. I’m sitting straighter than I’ve ever sat and taking small shallow breathes because anything else hurts. OWWWwwwie! My Abs! My Abs!

My abs are STILL sore today and it’s a whole day after. I texted Diane this morning...

“Holy crap Batman! I DO have core muscles! Who knew!?!?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Trick-or-Treaters, Bike Rides, & A Month End...

I had 2 trick-or-treaters that showed up on my door step last night. It surprised me and I was totally unprepared. All I could offer them were Clift Sports Bars. One of the kids just gave me a look like, “What in the Heck is this?” I offered to give him cherry-flavored sports beans instead. “Beans?! No Lady, that’s okay, “and they walked down the hall to the next door. For two years, I’ve been prepared for kids to visit my apartment door and never had anyone show. It would figure the one year, I’m unprepared I have a couple show. Go figure!

The whole group of riders at the 5th Annual Tricky Treat Costume Ride!

First Place Costume Prize- Minnesota Viking and her trusty steed!
The 5th Annual Tricky Treat Costume Ride this last Saturday was a success and TONS of fun. There were almost 50 riders and 85% of them came in costume. The first prize went to the Minnesota Viking and her faithful steed. Second place was an original costume that referred to himself as the “Antelope Island Road Kill”. He had a broken helmet as well as an arm and buffalo tracks all over. Third place brought in the Groovy Trio. Though, I will say that it almost made me think of Thing One and Thing Two when my friends Diane & Kym stood next to each other. And in fourth place were a copper and robber. After the costume contest we did door prize drawings. Thanks to the donations and help from my wonderful group of friends, there were a little over 25 door prizes for the riders to possibly win. It was very nice because a great deal of the riders went home with something. A BIG THANKS to Doug Jensen, the Levenson’s, Penny Perkins, Curt Griffin, the BCC Club, and my Disneyland friend Sal.

Myself, the "Holy Ghost", & 2nd Place Winner- Antelope Road Kill.

3rd Place Winners- The Groovy Trio- Diane, Stephen, & Kym.

4th Place- Cops & Robbers!

I was just amazed at the variety of costumes. There were two REAL highlights once the ride started. One of the highlights of the ride was a donut stop at a local bike shop (Salt Lake City Bike Company) where we got to play a version of the “Wheel of Fortune” and win tire patch kits, water bottles, or a tire tube. The other highlight happened as all 50 of us waited at a stop light. As we stood with our bikes waiting for the light a group of Japanese tourists were in the cross walk. They stopped and quickly grabbed their cameras. It was a variation of paparazzi! Cameras were flashing and various people standing by us having their picture taken. I was crying because I was laughing SO hard. Sometimes, there’s some truth in stereotypes?

And the month report for October....
I still have 7 more lbs. to lose to my goal weight.

I'm currently working on porch #83,84, & #85.  I seem to be having issues with completely finishing a painting.  I'm hoping to cure that problem soon!

STATS for the Month...
18.5 miles Running
100 miles Cycling
2 hours 3 minutes on elliptical
Read 5 books this month --up to 53 books for the year!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

My Experience with Reformer Pilates...

I’ve now managed to get two classes of reformer pilates under my belt. I have discovered a few muscles that I wasn’t aware the I had prior to these classes. My obliques are not such a vague concept any more. There’s little outside edged muscles here and there on my body that I have used in both of these classes. I wasn’t aware that they were there before. But it wasn’t painful, it was like I said “Hello” to them gently, stretch them a little, and then let them rest until the next class. But overall, I find these reformer pilates classes are a nice gentle and relaxing workout.

This is how the 100s looks like.
Late Sunday morning, I went to an Essential Pilates class as listed. It was recommended as the next step up after the orientation. I went into class and felt at ease. I wasn’t among blonde petite Barbies; there were all shapes and sizes. The first question out of the teacher’s mouth at the beginning of class was there any injuries or limitations that he needed to be aware of. Then, he said to put on two springs and get set up on your machines. I only had to lie down on the machine. I’m lucky enough that the studio reset place is my setting. I can just walk in and I’m ready to go.

We started out with lying on our backs and pushing out with putting our feet in various positions on what’s called the foot bar. Heels in and toes out, heels out and toes pushed together, or curl those toes over the foot bar focus those heels down and then push out. With each push you are focusing on using different muscles. All the while you are also supposed to focus on making it a slower controlled movement and breathheeeee! Breathing is important. About half way through I was questioning whether it had been smart of me to go out on that easy bike ride of 13 miles earlier in the morning. My thighs and calves were starting to feel a bit of a burn.

We got out the straps that are on the wall and placed them around our wrists. Now it was time to do what is called 100’s. It’s basically 100 counts of holding a stomach crunch up as you pulse with your wrists against the tension of the straps. OOOOOOoooo! Feel your stomach muscles burn!

Then there were some long box movements. You put a top padded box on your machine and lay on top of it. We ended up doing a bit of airplanes; only these were with straps around our wrists.

Now take those straps and put them around your ankles. Then you place your legs at a 45 degree angle, then put your legs in a table top position, then place your legs in a 45 degree position, and again. Think about your breathing while you are doing this and also try to use your core muscles. Okay, let me try to do this. I’ll also try to pat my head and rub my stomach too!

The next thing I know we are sitting Indian-style sideways with the strap on our farthest out wrist. Then we are told to rub our stomach with the one hand and think of shoulder of that arm as a pivot point. The quiet manner tattooed teacher then teases that he won’t ask us to pat our heads too. Next we are told to keep our elbow into our rib cage and to try to pull our arm out at a 90 degree angle horizontal. Me, ever the whimp, had to put the setting to a half spring. Then, we turned and repeated to other side.

Next we got out the “ring” and attached the strap to one side of the ring. “Hug the ring and sit up straight,” says the teacher. He continues on,” Now try to face the wall moving only your upper body. Let’s work on that hour glass shape!” We finished up on one side and then turned to the other.

Then it was time to get off the pilates machines and do some stretching. Wow! That went fast and it was rather relaxing too.

My second class was pretty much a variation of the first one. There were a few more complicated moves, more springs (to make it harder) and a bit of a higher count before moving on but for the most part it was pretty much the same; just a different teacher. I am finding it as a bit of a relaxing all over firming up workout. Friday is Jump board in the reformer pilates class. Jumping sideways, hmmm? Not sure what to expect.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Good News & Reformer Pilates

Good news!! I’m down another pound of flesh! I am now within 7 lbs of my goal weight. I’ve been trying to watch more closely what I eat and taking the Metabolife pills prior to eating. That’s if I can remember to take them 30 to 60 minutes before meal time. I have managed to get in bike rides during the weekend and during the week nights a run on the treadmill along with a little bit on the elliptical. But I will be curious to start the actual reformer Pilates this next week. My first actual class will be on Sunday morning.

This last Tuesday evening, I attended an orientation class for Pilates. I arrived early and sat on a couch in the lobby area to wait for my class to start. There’s two different classes going on; one in an orange colored room- a reformer Pilates and another in a green room that like a cross-bred of yoga /Pilates. I’m watching the front end of the orange room and getting rather nervous as I watched a gal on the reformer machine. She has one foot on the floor and the other knee is on the reformer machine and she’s practically doing the splits as she pushes the bottom of the machine towards the wall. I’m thinking, “OMG!” I look away because it would take years for me to reach a position like that.

So I watch in the green room for a bit. They are sitting on the floor holding plastic balls about the size of soccer balls between their knees. Now this is not the usual just sitting on the floor type of position. Oh, no! They are sitting in a “V” shape with their legs together no arms supporting their upper body and slowly lowering their feet to a 90 degree angle to the floor and then back up to the FULL “V” shape again. It’s done slowly. I find I can’t look away~! It’s like SO foreign to me that I’m amazed that the human body is able to even perform this feat. All the time in the back of mind, I’m thinking Thank GOD I’m not signed up for any of these classes; unless of course they are in need of comic relief. Then, it would be Lucille Ball move over! A comedy of errors would in sue!

So I was rather nervous when I entered into the orientation class, but it was more of a case of figuring out how to get fit ourselves to our own machines each time we go to class and otherwise it was learning the names of the parts of the reformer machine. There were 4 other people that were in the orientation class with me. There were only 2 of us that didn’t have injuries of some sort that would inhibit the Pilates workout. I thought that was interesting, and also made me feel more comfortable that I can work towards my possible version of the splits.   The TRUE test will happen on Sunday morning... Keep your fingers crossed!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Furniture Jenga & Results...

It's that time of year again when I get the free carpet cleaning done.  Each year when I resign the lease for another year they give me a free carpet cleaning.  I usually save it until the Fall time of year just before I ended up having social occaisions and spending more time inside.  So here's a quick picture I took of what is usually my kitchen area....
Furniture Jenga in my small apartment kitchen.
It's always amazing what you can fit together when you set your mind to it and you are also dealing with limited space.  The kitchen has most of the living room furniture and some of the bedroom.  The futon, frame, and mattress filled up my bathroom.  It's funny that I can fit all of this furniture into 2 of the smallest rooms in my apartment.  The other funny thing is that I always forget how HARD it is to move my queen-sized futon mattress into the bathroom.  It's a WORKOUT and then some to move it from the bedroom, down the short excuse for a hallway and straight into the bathroom where I need to lan it against a wall so I can then carefully slide the futon frame into the rest of the bathroom.  I get another workout when I get home tonight and get to move all the furniture back.  LUCKY ME! Who needs weight training when you have furniture?  Really if I worked it out right I could get paid to workout by going door to door and offering to move people's furniture.  NAW~! Maybe NOT!

I finally got to look at the on-line results of a 6K Fun Run I did on October 8th.  It's the 2nd time I've done this Fun Run and it takes place at nearby Thanksgiving Point Gardens.  It's an all female event called "Love Your Body".  There's a choice of a 6K or 10K.  I opted to do the 6K this year and I'm glad I did because it was a rather rainy and cold run; which I didn't mind once I got warmed up but till then it was chilly.  I managed to finish the 6K in 41:32 and had an average mile time of 11:08.  Not too bad though I am now starting to wonder if the time was really off on the last 5K run I did where I average an almost 10 minute mile.  The more I do of these 5 & 6 K runs I think that one was a total fluke.  But I will say that I am happy with having a 11 min/mile average; especially when last year I was averaging a 12 min/mile.  This is good and a definite improvement.  I was 11th place out of 50 that were in my age group and placed 166 overall out of 647.  Not too shabby!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Being a BUM, Pills, & Pilates...

I feel like a lazy bum! My exercise activity has slowed; almost to a stand still. Well, it almost feels like it. I’m only cycling on the weekends now because there no light on the week nights. I’ve managed to get a few runs in since the beginning of the month and a couple of times on the elliptical too. But it’s not nearly the amount of activity I was having. As the days get shorter and shorter and the on-slaught of holidays come closer; I fear the weight gain.

LOL! I see this picture as me being the wolf in sheep's clothing when it comes to dieting.

I was especially surprised when I got on the scale this morning and I was at the same weight. I still have 8 lbs. to go until my weight loss goal. I have been trying to watch what I eat. I’ve also been trying to make more wholesome choices too. I’ve been forcing myself to choose those fresh fruits and veggies; which in a way makes me eat less because they are not too appealing to me as the junk food. I guess that’s kudos in a way.

So as a preventative I’ve signed up for reformer Pilates classes and purchased a bottle of Metabolife. OMG! WTF?! Pills?!? What are you thinking?!? Quite frankly, I’m hoping that Metabolife will help amp up my metabolism a bit and help me to possibly still lose with this slower part of the year activity. I’m not heavily relying on it and I’m actually very leery of using it too much. We’ll see how it goes.

Now with concern about the reformer Pilates classes; my friend Diane has been mentioning them to me for awhile now but the only time that they have offered an orientation class was on Tuesday nights. That has been a conflict during cycling season with the Emigration Canyon rides that I was leading. But now that cycling season has wound down. My Tuesday nights have opened up and I can check out reformer Pilates.

Of course, I’ve all ready dove in like I usually do. I leaped right into the frying pan and I HOPE it works out. I signed up for the orientation class and paid for 10 more class sessions ahead of time. So, I hope I like reformer Pilates or I’ll be struggling through 10 class sessions in a “what-the-hell-was-I-thinking” mode. I find out this next Tuesday night. Please keep your fingers crossed and I’ll let you know how it goes.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Ode to a Grandma

Grandma 1922- 2011
My last living grandmother passed away this last weekend. She had a series of health issues in the last couple of years and had recently, out of necessity, been put in a full time care facility. I guess we all saw it coming. But even with that expectation, it seemed like the end came faster than anyone expected. That often seems to be the case. But I would like to think that in quite a few cases that it’s a blessing to those that we love that they don’t suffer.

Honestly and sadly, I can’t say that I really knew my grandmother. My memories are fleeting childhood visits to the Northwestern Iowa farm where she & gramps lived. Gramps was the predominate personality in the relationship. He was always laughing, talking, and telling stories. Meanwhile, grandma always seemed to be floating around in the background frying something on the stove in the kitchen. I do remember that she always fed the wildcats that roamed the farm. She would set up food for them out behind the garage. She always chastised us not to try to pet the cats. Of course with my habit of learning the hard way, I chose not to listen and ended up pretty scratch one time.

I must say that most of the other memories that I have of my grandma are not positive. She quite often seemed to be complaining or criticizing one of her daughters (my mother & aunts). She really didn’t seem to care for my mother. It almost felt like she hated her for some reason which I never could figure out. I remember seeing pictures of the other grandkids or the neighbor’s kids in the old farmhouse but never any photos of myself or my little brother. Years ago one spring I drove back to northwestern Iowa from Utah. I stayed with an Aunt that was centrally located among other relatives. Grandma wouldn’t drive the 25 miles down to come see me. If I wanted to see her, I could drive up to see her. But I never did drive up to see her because everyone else had drove over to see me. I thought it would have been rude to leave everyone to go see her.

I know that grandma had a hard life; the few stories that I heard of her life growing up sounded like a very hard life to survive. But it just always seemed to me that she was unhappy. I find that sad because I see life as an attitude choice. I believe that if you choose to be happy you will be. Granted, it doesn’t always work that way but the chances are greater if you approach things that way. Goodbye Grandma! Now, I just hope that you will now find the happiness and peace that you deserve in the afterlife.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Dentists & End of Month

I’ve been living the last two weeks with hot and cold sensitivity on the upper left side of my mouth. It’s been getting worse and worse. The last week, I’ve managed to lose 2 lbs. because I don’t want to eat due to pain. It’s my own fault. There’s one thing I HATE more than anything else--- going to the dentist’s office! It’s been 2 years since I went last and that was for an awfully painful root canal. I also didn’t care for the dentist that I went to; talk about a cold fish!

I decided I needed to go somewhere because it wasn’t getting any better. But I wanted to go to another dentist; preferably a nice person with some personality. A girlfriend recommended her dentist and we went by her dentist’s office one day. She introduced me to a gal in the office and the next thing I knew I set an appointment. I figured give it a try and everyone in the office I met seemed nice. Besides, I really did need to get my tooth fixed. It’s not an ideal way to lose weight, and I was praying to God that it wasn’t another root canal.

I like the new dentist. He walked in, shook my hand, and talked to me person to person. I felt like he wanted to get to know me before he started in with the dentistry stuff. That was nice for a change. When we got around to the dental talk he managed to be encouraging and positive. The last “cold fish” had made me feel about 2 inches high for not taking better care of my teeth. I also discovered that my body may metabolize Novocain at a faster rate because I had experience episodes in the dentist office where there was pain when there shouldn’t have been. The new dentist said we could try something else and that he had a policy of a no pain approach.

It ended up being a very deep cavity that was causing the problem. Oh BOY, did I luck out! It was pleasantly a no pain session. I didn’t even feel the needle. He was so smooth and gentle. Now for the next step and the next fix on my teeth is a crown. Tomorrow morning, I get to go in for that to be fixed. I’ve just started to get cold sensitivity in that area (the lower left) which the dentist says we need to catch before it becomes a problem. Meanwhile, I can see the dollar signs draining out of my pocket book; another reason I’ve never been fond of the dentist. But if I pay my bill that day his office offers to give a 20% discount. So, I guess it could be worse.

End of Month…

Weight- 8 more lbs. to go thanks to the dental situation.

100 SLC Porches- I’m up to 80 out of the 100. I’m a couple of porch paintings behind. But I’m hoping with the cycling season almost to an end that I’ll be able to catch up a bit.  The photo of the #80 porch painting is above.  It's a watercolor on 11" x 11" Paper.  To view the progress of the 100 Salt Lake City Porches Art Project, click here.

Uncluttering my life- The goodwill is still growing and I’m thinking I need to take that pile to the actual goodwill. But that’s just a thought so far.

Stats for the month-

16.5 miles running
358 miles cycling
1 hour 21 minutes on the elliptical
Read 4 books this month (up to 48 for the year.)

Friday, September 23, 2011

My Favorite Time of Year...

Fall is my favorite time of year. The summer warmth has dissipated. Cooler temperatures that call out for the sweaters and light jackets. Images of pumpkins, falling leaves and the landscape turning colorful hues of orange, red, and yellow come to mind.  It’s a time to get and take long meandering walks to enjoy the colorful landscape.  My absolute favorite holiday occurs this time of year—HALLOWEEN! Fall also contains Thanksgiving; which is my second favorite holiday. The only thing I don’t like about Fall is that it’s a signal the arrival ending of cycling season. Darn it! But I guess you can’t have it all.

Halloween Bike Ride- An 2' x 4' Oil Painting I did a few years ago.
For me this season, heralds a time of year to slow down a bit and reflect. But it seems as though, this year the colors haven’t quite stepped in like they usually do. Maybe it’s me “jumping the gun” in anticipating Fall ahead of schedule. After all, today is only the first day of Autumn according to my desk calendar. I tell you I am looking forward to some of that slowing and reflection time. I feel like most of the summer it’s been run, run, run, AND I’m so ready to SL-OOOWWW down.

I will say part of that run, run, run is self-induced. It seems as though I’m always trying to do too much. Why do we always seem to do that to ourselves? I know my limits like anyone else but I always seem to be striving to be a Super Hero Human. Then, I feel a bit deflated when I realize I’m not super in anyway and just an everyday ho-hum-drum human. I’ll have to leave the bounding a building in a single leap to someone else and that might be best considering my fear of heights.

Speaking of running, I’m thinking that I may be do for a new pair of running shoes. Now, talk about run, run, run that's self-induced!  But in anticaption of doing more running indoors on the "dredmill".  I've been thinking.  It’s been about a year since I bought the last pair. I’ve been averaging about 25 miles a month and they probably have close to 300 miles on them. Once I was told that you should get new pair of shoes about every 350 miles of running. But I always wonder if that’s really true or if it’s just one of those sales gimmicks.  But I would like to shop around and find a new pair so possibly I could use that as an excuse?  Yeah, that works!

P.S. I'm up one more pound this week.  The night time bike rides have been cut short due to earlier sunset times but I'm still eating the same amount of calories.  Time to pay closer attention to that equation.  Exercise Less = Eat Less Should be the new equation.

Friday, September 16, 2011

A Question of Sanity & An Update

It’s pouring rain outside this afternoon and I’m sitting at my desk at work. I’m staring outside watching our lawn guy mow the grass. And I can’t help but wonder at what point is a person considered insane or at the least eccentric?

It seems that the worse the weather is our lawn guy shows up to mow the lawn. I guess it’s a good thing we are not in tornado alley of the country. I can just imagine the wind whirling around him as he walks the mower along. Dorothy and Toto would have nothing on Marty and the lawnmower! I can imagine—“…I’ll get you my pretty and your weed whacker too!” LOL!

Last summer he even mowed the lawn once at 2AM in the morning. On that occasion he happened to report to the police about teenagers tagging the building across the way. I would have paid anything to see the police’s reaction to his story of…” I’m just out here at 2AM mowing the lawn! Nice night isn’t officer?”

But I will admit he keeps the lawn well maintained. He comes at a cheap price too, or so I’ve heard. AND I will admit, he’s also easy on the eyes. He’s all lean muscle. How can you complain but still it REALLY makes me wonder about his sanity. One of the guys just got back from helping loading a truck out back and complained that it was freezing outside and he was wearing more than our lawn guy, who is clad in a sleeveless muscle t-shirt and shorts. At the very least, I would classify him as a BIT eccentric.

I’m up 1 lb. for the week. That means I’m back to having 9 lbs. to lose to my goal weight. I’ve been snacking at work. There’s been several birthday treats in the office of late. I do admit to getting a bit concerned with the cooler weather starting to approach that I’ll have a harder time losing weight because cycling season will be ending soon.

Some of the night rides that I do regularly have started to be shortened because of the earlier sunset times. I’ve been trying to catch as many of those rides as I am able. It’s just a matter of time when it’ll be just the treadmill and the elliptical machine between me and my weight. Though, I’ll probably throw in some snowshoeing time when the white stuff comes.

Monday, September 12, 2011

My Knees! My Knees!

“My knees are killing me!” It’s like the punch line to a joke but I forgot the joke. This morning, I had to literally roll out of bed because my knees were sore. It rather reminded me of the growing pains I used to get in grade school. I decided to forgo the early morning bike ride and take it easy today.
What led to this knee pain? Well, I think it was a series of things, maybe…

Friday night, I ran a 5K Fun Run at a local church festival after work. I must admit I pushed it a bit. But I was very happy when I saw my time of 31 minutes 44 seconds. WOW, that’s almost 4 whole minutes off my last 5K run!

Saturday, I took a bike ride to scout out some porches for my 100 Salt Lake City Art Project. I didn’t push it but I DID do some climbing on some steep streets.

The Quaking Aspen trees along the upper American Fork/Alpine Loop Climb.

Sunday morning, I lead an American Fork Canyon- Alpine Loop bike ride which was two hours of climbing and a quick CHILLY decent of 30 minutes. The scenery was beautiful though I was hoping there would have been more Fall color. It’ll probably be another 1 to 2 weeks and it’ll be the height of Fall color.

But I’m hoping that it’s the combination of all of the above that lead to my knees being in pain today. That or I’ll have to start narrowing down what’s happening and I sometimes really hate to do that.  But the good news in all this is that I'm down 1 lb. on my weight.  I only have 8 lbs. till my goal weight!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Cycling Away the Labor Day Weekend

I managed to get in almost 100 miles cycling in this last weekend between three different rides.  The weather was just glorious.  The sun was shining and it was a little cooler than it has been.  It was too nice NOT to be on my bicycle. But the real pretty ride this weekend was lead by a fellow Bonneville Cycling Club cyclist.  She called it Jackie's Fall Fancy and it started in Park City.  It then went by the Jordanelle Reservoir over to Kamas through some lovely little towns with landscapes of horses and red barns.  Then through another canyon and back to Park City.  What a wonderful way to spend part of a day!  Here's some pictures from the bike ride that I took...

A BIG THANKS out to Jackie for leading this wonderful ride!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Henna Tattoo & a Month End...

Now, I can scratch one thing off my Bucket List.  This last Tuesday morning,  I had a henna tattoo applied by Malynda in my home.  I had given her a very rough drawing of sunflowers and a bicycle, and she drew this free hand and came up with an amazing piece of artwork on me.   It was rather amazing thinking of my body underneath and as a part of a piece of art.  I never considered my body to be a possibility of art; which was rather a new concept for me.  One that I may have to explore some more in the future,hmmm?

Let me preface this with a warning-- Not all hennas are created equal!!  ***BLACK HENNA WARNING!!***  If you come across a henna that stains your skin black immediately avoid it.  It probably contains a harmful chemical called PPD(para-phenylenediamine).  PPD is ILLEGAL to use on skin and can cause painful rashes, disfiguring scars, increased allergic reactions to safer black dyes (such as used to dye your clothes), to more serious conditions such as heart failure and life-long illness.

My upper left arm just after application of henna paste.
View of my back with henna paste still on.

The henna goes on with the consistency of black pudding.  Then, you leave it on your skin any where from 4 to 8 hours.  That allows your skin to absorb the coloring from the henna.  I had about 6 hours after Malynda left to sit and let my skin do nothing but absorb.  I was trying not to move or touch anything with those areas of my body.  Oh, did I mention it was my back, left shoulder, and upper left arm?  And I never realized how hard that is not to touch something with those parts of your body when you are trying not to. OMG!  I ended up leaning on my right side and slightly forward on my love seat as I watched a movie and then did some reading on my nook.  At shortly after 5pm, I changed into some cycling clothes and went to ride my Tuesday evening Emigration Canyon ride.  The henna paste was starting to crack and fall off.  I imagine I looked rather yucky during the ride, but the sweat was supposed to help set it in I was told.

Henna tattoo the morning after most of the paste was removed.
The henna tattoo on the second day.  It's gotten darker.

And an monthly update....
Weight- I've 9 lbs to go till my goal weight.
100 SLC Porches- I finish #73 & 74 the other night.  I'm right on track!  Check out the project on my other blog- Allgood Art.
Uncluttering my life- I still have a pile in the bedroom that's growing that I'll eventually send to the good will.
Stats for the month...
28 miles running
385 miles biking
3 hours 41 mintues on elliptical
read 5 books this month (up to 44 for the year!)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A Weekend Workshop...

I’m off to Pocatello , Idaho this weekend. Why the big "town" of Pocatello, you might ask? I’m going to be taking a “Pouring Luminous Watercolors” Workshop at the Pocatello Art Center . The workshop is taught by a wonderful watercolorist that I have been admiring on-line for awhile. Her name is Leslie Redhead. I LOVE her poured watercolors of cityscapes and buildings. Pictured here is a Chinatown Statue, a poured watercolor that I stole from her site. (I hope she’ll forgive me.) It is one of my favorites. She also has some amazing flowers; especially irises and poppies. Please click on her name and check out her artwork. It is definitely worth a visit. Leslie is based in Vancouver , BC , Canada ; and I jumped at the chance when I found out she was holding a workshop so close to Salt Lake City . It’s about a 3 hour drive and, of course, I’m taking my bike in tow. I figured I could bike some new territory while I'm there. I’ve really been excited for this weekend for the last month. It’s almost like Christmas! I’ll update you and hopefully share a beautiful piece of watercolor artwork when I get back. I'm also using it as an excuse not to do my weekly weighing in.  I KNOW I haven't been good this week, and don't want to face that scale.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Old Navy + Me = Dangerous Territory

Sunday early evening, as I had dinner plans cancelled I found myself at the local Old Navy Store. I figured I would go in to get a cheap tube top. I needed something to wear while I have my henna tattoo applied at the end of this month. Yes, I didn’t own a strapless top I could use and thought I could pick up an el-cheap-o at Old Navy. I came out an hour and a half later spending almost $60. Can you say, “Oppppsss!”

I did manage to find the tube top for about $3. I also managed to find a pair of jeans, a sleeveless top, a floral tank, and a cute skirt. That’s the problem with going straight to the discount area at Old Navy. There are just TOO many bargains to be had and then the next thing I know I’m trying on this and that; followed by another this and that. AND before you know it the hanged section of “LOVE IT” is filled up. AH-OH! Then, I’m going through and try to narrow down everything that will make it over to the register with me. YIKES! This is dangerous and originally I just came in for a cheap tube top.

But on the fantastic side, I discovered I can fit rather snuggly in a pair of 12 jeans! Yahoo! I normally wear a 14. The jeans were on sale for $15. So, of course, I had to get a pair of them! Then I discovered that the large shirts that I usually get are too large. I go back and grab the medium and WOW! I’m fitting into medium shirts! How cool is this? This is making me feel really good till I try on a pair of 14 jeans in a different style and I can barely get them up my thighs. What’s up with that??!

I look more closely and discover they are mismarked. The clipped on tag says size 10, but all the stickers say size 14. Whew! That was a load off my mind because I was wondering if I was in a special twilight zone of the dressing room. Ooooo Spooky!  I go back to get another size 14 and discovered 4 other pairs that were marked the same way! I immediately grabbed a sales gal and showed her. I did it because I hated the idea of some other gal trying on a pair of mismarked jeans, and ended up with a bruised ego.

AND so, that’s how I went into Old Navy for one thing and came out spending almost $60. But I will say that I’ve improved! The last time I went into Old Navy I had spent $120. Thus, in the new math method:
Old Navy + Me = Dangerous Spending Territory!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Bucket List Thoughts & an Update...

It was as we stood in the elevator that Diane said,” You need to add that to your Bucket List and then check it off.” I could not help but smile at her plan. We just got done watching a movie (Rio) on an inflatable BIG (HUGE- 10' x10') screen TV while we were leisurely sitting in our swimsuits ensconced in a hot tub. I was also enjoying one of those sweet “chick-like” beverages that tasted like margaritas and we could see the stars above in the dark night sky. It was amazing night that had started off with a dinner done alfresco near the pool area and a "homemade" (not really- Diane tried to pass it off as such!  Nice try girlfriend!) Key Lime pie. Yum!  It's one of my favorites!

I will admit that it was one of those wonderful memories that I’ll look back on but I could have never perceived putting it on a bucket list. Not because it’s not worthy of a bucket list, but what made it so special was the chance that it occurred and with such wonderful company too. Some moments are just made better because they are NOT planned or anticipated. It’s those unique moments like this that I believe make life so amazing and interesting. But I couldn’t help but smile and chuckle inside as I thought over what Diane had said. I would put it on another list though; a list of 100 Best Unplanned Moments.

But I’ve already lined up one item to do that’s on my Bucket List. I’ve made an appointment to have a henna tattoo near the end of this month. I’ve sent a prelim idea for the design and the lady that’s going to do it is working up a sketch before the appointment. Yes, there’s a bicycle involved in the design but I’m not sharing any more than that for right now.  I got the impression from the lady that she had never had such a design requested and I think she might have been intrigued by it.  I managed to find this lady through some on-line searching.  She does henna tattoos locally, but is currently doing a booth at a festival in Washington State.  I was rather surprised when I learned that she even comes out to your house which I thought was really neat but not a requirement.  But I thought that since I've decided to have this henna tattoo go from the back of my neck, along my shoulder, and to the top of my left arm it might be nice to have it done at home.  I'm getting excited about doing this!

An update on my weight, I’m up 1 pound which I wasn’t too surprised because I wasn’t really good this week but I’m planning on trying harder this next week. The good news is that I’m still down a total 23 lbs. and I have 9 more to go!